Student hit by car while walking to Tanana Middle School

Published: Sep. 21, 2023 at 9:04 AM AKDT
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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) - On their way to school Wednesday morning, a female student was hit by a car while crossing the road. The incident has left her seriously injured but in stable condition.

Tragedy struck the school district and community on Sept. 20, after a student was hit by a Chevy Tahoe (a full size SUV) while crossing Trainor Gate Road on her way to Tanana Middle School. The incident occurred around 7:50 a.m., when the school day was starting, right after sunrise. After being hit by the vehicle, the student had serious injuries requiring her to be transported to Fairbanks Memorial Hospital for medical attention.

“What we know is that the student was in a crosswalk, there was a crosswalk guard that was there,” said Richard Sweet, the Deputy Chief of the Fairbanks Police Dept. “The other traffic had come to a stop, but this vehicle, after others had come to stop, continued and then the student was struck.”

In an email, the Fairbanks North Star Borough School District informed the community that as of 12:33 p.m., the student was in stable condition.

The school district also urged community members to take extra care when driving around school zones saying “it is of utmost importance.” This includes obeying speed limits, stopping for school buses, removing distractions from drivers such as phones, watching for crosswalks, and being alert to unfavorable weather conditions. It also means paying extra attention to school zone signs, which can have flashing lights during school hours, a yellow tint, and a warning of when school is in session.

Deputy Chief Sweet echoed the sentiments of the school district. “School zones are now active again, I think almost all of them are marked with the flashing yellow lights. The speed is reduced most of the time in all of them,” Sweet said. Given the timing of the incident, he also brought up the waning daylight and onset of winter conditions. “The biggest thing is the visibility, so really, it’s the declining light levels that make it hard to see kids that are walking that are not necessarily wearing reflective gear.”

The driver was not arrested, but their vehicle was seized temporarily. Whether or not an arrest will be made later on, will be determined by the district attorney’s office, after they have reviewed all of the case material.